DAILY WORD 9/19/20
18. Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.
19. Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
20. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.
1 Timothy 1:18–20 NLT
Today’s passage is an interesting one that gives us a look into the difficulties and drama that True Christian Leadership entails. In the three brief Verses that comprise this passage, we see multiple examples of the layers of Responsibility that come along with leading God’s Church and get a small but intimate glimpse at the lives and ministries of Paul and Timothy and exactly what it was that Paul had sent his protégé to deal with.
As we conclude this Chapter we begin to see that the grave obligations of Christian Leadership are both serious and at times grim. When those that we are called to lead do not heed the warnings God Gives us for their lives we are often called to do things that may well bring pain to both our souls and their lives but let me not get ahead of myself.
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the first Verse in this passage. The beginning of this Verse gives us a brief glimpse into the life and ministry of Timothy and Paul. Apparently there were prophecies spoken over the life of Timothy concerning his ministry that would guide him in his duties, lend credence to his actions, and bolster his Faith. He was not just an acolyte of Paul, he was chosen by God to do the work that he was sent to do.
Paul reminds Timothy of those prophesies to give him the strength to continue on in following his calling but before we go on, let’s take a brief look at the burden that often comes along with that calling. In the final portion of Verse 18, Paul characterizes the duties of a Christian Leader as a war. In the King James, it says that he reminds Timothy of the prophesies so that he can “war a good warfare”.
This is an indication of exactly what it can be like to Lead God’s people. It is not some pie in the sky skip through the roses affair. It is a fight for the Eternal Life of every soul under your charge and the consequences of failure are dire. What are the stakes in a war? Every step you take, every action you select could end in either glory or disaster for not only you but everyone around you, and in Spiritual Warfare the stakes are even higher, the highest stakes there are…they are Eternal.
This is exactly why taking on the responsibilities of Leadership in the Church should never be taken lightly. It is also why Paul tells Timothy that he must hold fast to his Faith and fight to keep a Good Conscience. Paul knows well the difficulties that Timothy is about to face and he doesn’t want him to slip or deviate from the Path like so many others had done. In the second part of Verse he mentions what that looks like and what, as Leaders, they are facing.
Paul says that some of Timothy’s charges have deliberately strayed from the Path of the Truth, violating the Teachings of the Gospel and turning aside from God’s Word. The danger here is that as leaders they steer others along the same corrupt path they are taking and in turn, lose those soul’s place in Heaven along with their own. Paul characterizes this state as being Spiritually Shipwrecked or set adrift in a raging sea, far from shore, with only minimal hope of salvation.
This is the danger of turning aside from God’s Word, especially as a Christian Leader, and we see that for Timothy, it is not just a veiled threat either. In Verse 20, Paul mentions two specific individuals that had “violated their consciences” and potentially led away God’s people. He gives us the final indication of the seriousness of Christian Leadership as we look at his reaction to these two failed leader’s deeds. This is the greatest warning we can receive as prospective Leaders of just how grave our responsibilities are as we guide God’s people.
Paul says that he delivers them unto Satan so “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Wow…harsh! But this is the reality of Christian Leadership. Not everyone under your guidance is going to follow your lead. Some people will violate their instructions and stray from the Path and as a Leader, if they do not amend their actions, sometimes severe responses must be taken.
In an army during wartime, if orders are not obeyed, the commanding officer often has the latitude to execute insubordinate soldiers. We have already established that this is a war and as Christian Leaders, we are wartime commanders. If Christ is Life and being without Him is death, then giving someone over to Satan can mean Spiritual Death. Paul’s actions reflect this reality and give us the real view of what many on the outside of Christian Leadership view as a cushy job. It is anything but! Christian Leadership is a grave and solemn responsibility that must be taken seriously at the risk of your eternal soul. As Paul’s actions in this passage clearly show us, it is that critical.
Next week we will begin Chapter two of the Book of 1 Timothy, in which we will look at just how to approach Christian Leadership and what to do to be prepared for this kind of Spiritual Warfare. Until then, if you are considering leading God’s people, or if you already are, think about the stakes, take stock of your Faith, and make sure that your conscience is clear because there are definitely souls at stake, not the least of which being your own.
Have a Sobering Saturday and Stay Safe out there!